2016 – Small Car Ratings

You are viewing the archived 2016 ratings for small cars. Go to the current small cars ratings.

Looking for the perfect little runaround? Compare some of the biggest names in the auto industry to find the best small car for your needs.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Suzuki: Small in size, but big in satisfaction


Australia is a big country that loves big vehicles but for some motorists, it’s the idea of a small and easy to drive car that really gets them revved up. Small cars, including hatchbacks, can be ideal for singles and young couples, and also tend to be some of the most economical vehicles on our roads. Not only will a small car save you money, but it will also make a finding a parking space on the street a whole lot easier!

But with so many small cars to choose from, how do you decide which is right for you? Canstar Blue annually surveys hundreds of new car buyers to find out what they think about their latest set of wheels. The results include the biggest name in the auto world, but only Suzuki earned a five-star rating for overall small car customer satisfaction. It was also the only brand to earn top marks on value for money.

Suzuki is by no means the biggest selling car manufacturer in Australia, but at Canstar Blue, our ratings are based on the everyday experiences of motorists just like you, not sales figures. But if you’re interested, the Suzuki Celerio was one of the most popular small cars in November 2015, reports show. One of our survey respondents who drives a Suzuki Swift summed up the feelings of the majority very well when he described his vehicle as a “great, little economic car”.

Why buy a small car?

There are obvious advantages to owning a small car, particularly if you’re just looking for the perfect little runaround to get you to work or the shops and back every day. We found that a whopping 86% of small car owners bought their vehicle because it’s economical, while 39% downgraded to save money.

What drives small car satisfaction?

As we’ve found, a cheaper purchase price and smaller running costs are a major draw to small cars. The owners we surveyed spent an average of $22,896 on their new set of wheels, which is about half the average spent by owners of SUVs or four-wheel drives and $9,000 less than what the owners of sedans paid. So the finances speak for themselves, but what else drives customer for small car buyers?

  • Driving experience: 26%
  • Vehicle reliability: 21%
  • Value for money: 19%
  • After sale service: 17%
  • Car servicing experience: 10%
  • Point of sale service: 7%

In these results, we see that value for money is a greater driver of satisfaction when it comes to small cars than it is with regards to sedans or SUVs/4WDs. However, it’s also interesting to find that point of sale service pales into insignificance compared to other factors – which is in stark contrast to the results seen with larger vehicles. This could perhaps be explained by owners of larger vehicles paying much more for their new cars, which should in turn raise expectations in regards to customer support. But when all is said and done, driving a small car should be heaps of fun, and if you feel like you’re getting great value for money, even better.

If you think a small, economical car is the best option for you, we hope that our star ratings are helpful at the start of your journey. Click here to find out which brand topped our overall new car satisfaction ratings.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 9,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have bought a brand new car from a dealership in the last three years – in this case, 2,354 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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